That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence til the day of Christ.
The world offers us a multiplicity of distractions to keep our focus off of what should be our first priority – “the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). In his salutation to the church at Philippi, Paul encourages the believers, and us, that our “love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment” (v. 9). “Knowledge” here is the Greek compound word epígnosis: epí means “on” or “over” or “on the basis of;” gnosis means “wisdom.” In other words, “wisdom” or “knowledge” that is from above. So, based on godly wisdom, we are to make all judgment. “Judgment” is the Greek noun aisthesis which means “insight, perception” or “discernment.” We are urged on the basis of godly wisdom to exercise discernment in approving, better yet “testing,” those things in our lives that are “excellent,” i.e., worthy of keeping.
The reason for this is that we may be sincere and without offence. “Sincere” translates the Greek compound word eilikrinés: heile, the sun’s rays; and krinés (from krínoo) meaning to judge. Together, it means to judge by the sun. This might make a little more sense when we consider that our word “sincere” comes from the compound Latin word sincera: sine (without) and cera (wax). It has been suggested that the origin of the word stems from artisans using wax to cover imperfections in their work. The unsuspecting buyer would then take the merchandise home only to have the sun reveal its imperfections. This, no doubt, would seriously offend the buyer.
In the same way, we are to judge our own lives on the basis of wisdom and discernment so that our witness will be “without wax” that would offend the one who receives our message. This we need do on a daily basis knowing that “the day of Christ” is at hand.